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Would you like to live in a grand palace covered in palm fronds? About 1,500 years ago, Mayan rulers probably lived in this royal manner. Newly discovered ruins were discovered during excavations in the Caba archaeological zone  in the Puuc region of Yucatan, Mexico. The grounds, known as the Petenero Palace, are large, imposing, and richly decorated. The findings, announced by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, signal exciting new research that could shed light on Maya migration patterns across Central America. New ruins were discovered where there were already palaces and other buildings. It came as a surprise when Mexico prepared to build the Maya Railway, which would cover a 930-mile section of the historically significant Yucatan Peninsula. The  ruins of the palace were previously hidden by vegetation, but  are now exposed.

Over 85 feet long, the stone ruins feature preserved pilasters and alternating openings. The portico has no roof, but researchers suspect it may be made of organic material, such as palm wood. The remaining stones are carved with feathers, beads, and birds. Some of these archaeological features are reminiscent of other sites in Guatemala's Petén department. This similarity suggests to researchers that the people who built the palace probably migrated from Petén, in modern-day Guatemala and Belize,  between 250 and 500 AD, when the city was founded.  

The Mayan culture ruled Central America for over 3,000 years. According to INAH, “excavations of the [surrounding] Mayan railways have made possible the registration and preservation of: 55,132  properties; 1,249,777 pottery shards and 1,925 finished or restored furniture; restorations; 1,339 archaeological artifacts inside. 647 bones and 2,252 natural features linked to the landscape and human activities.'' This  and similar projects have created a deciduous jungle that was thousands of years old. We just started pulling it back.

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